Betsi Cadawaladr University Health Board
Within the Audiology service, there is a need for timely access to support for hearing aid patients due to patient reliance on hearing devices.
For some, conversing over the telephone can be difficult, so we offer a variety of ways patients can contact us.
As a service, we have been using the Attend Anywhere video call platform for some scheduled care appointments (booked in advance), but not as a method for patients to access support when needed.
To investigate the use of an Attend Anywhere Waiting Room for a ‘drop-in’ virtual clinic, attended by a clinician, during advertised opening times.
- Allow access to a clinician via video for those with hearing aid issues.
- Ability to see the patient on screen, potentially helping with fault finding and practical elements such as correct ear mould insertion and re-tubing.
- Encouraging self-management of hearing aids, providing timely support, and preventing some patients from needing to attend the hospital or converse on the telephone.
- 300 patients contacted with instructions about the video ‘drop-in’ repair/support clinic
- 0 patients used the service in the 4 month time period
Average age of those contacted: 73.9 years old (range 18-93).
The first 100 patients who were contacted by letter were looked at in more detail:
- 34 of these accessed the service for support in the time period that the video ‘drop-in clinics were running. These attended the service for the following reasons:
- A further 22 contacted the service to request more batteries or tubing
- The remaining 44 had no contact with the service during that time period
The outcomes of the appointment for support were also collated:
This would suggest that for some patients, a video drop-in could have been of benefit, e.g. for reassurance/advice, instructions on cleaning microphones and potentially instructions on re-tubing.
Some of these could have been done via video, rather than needing a face-to-face appointment.
However, patients did not try to contact the department via video.
Of the 34 that accessed the service for support during the 4-month time period, a group of 20 were contacted to complete a questionnaire.
- All reported their preferred method of contact with the service was by phone
- 70% were aware they could contact the service by email
- 60% were aware the service had a website with information and instructions for patients
- All reported they received the video drop-in clinic letter
- All reported they did not try the service and they prefer to see someone in person
- All patients reported they were hoping the open access repair/support clinic (face-to-face) would re-open soon and 20% also stated they were hoping the volunteer drop-in community clinics would re-open soon (both closed during Covid-19 pandemic)
Results indicated that this hearing aid patient group did not benefit from a video ‘drop-in’ hearing aid support clinic.
Patients chose not to contact the department this way and reported to prefer face-to-face support.
This would suggest it would not be worthwhile offering this service as a means of accessing support for Audiology hearing aid patients.